SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said though Utah has had more than its share of problems with mental health issues and suicide, people across the country should be looking to the state as an example for how to treat those issues.
In an interview with KSL TV on Thursday, Hatch discussed his proposed National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act, which would create a three-digit dialing code similar to 911, that people could call if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts or a mental health issue.
“It’s really important,” Hatch said. “A lot of people really are threatened by suicide and don’t know what to do about it. We get a suicide hotline, we can help them. We’re finding that it’s going to work out very, very well.”
Utah has had problems with suicide and mental health, but the state’s leaders haven’t shied away from dealing with them, Hatch said. He praised Utah leaders and said they have done a good job on the issue.
Hatch also complimented the SafeUT app, which allows youth to have confidential, two-way communication with a crisis counselor. Hatch added people are paying attention to Utah, and the SafeUT app could be beneficial all over the country.
“We should do everything in our power to keep our kids from being so depressed that they would contemplate suicide,” he said.
The STOP School Violence Act, which overwhelmingly passed in the House of Representatives in March, is “long overdue,” Hatch said.
The bill is currently in the hands of the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Hatch is a senior member. He has co-sponsored the bill in the Senate, along with Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio.
The bill provides $1 billion in funding over 10 years to address school safety, Hatch said. Law enforcement resources will also be provided to schools, and the schools will be able to use those resources almost instantaneously, the senator added.
“I’m proud of it,” Hatch said. “I think it’s something that we definitely have to do.”
- Utah County Crisis Line: 801-226-4433
- Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
- Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386